Vikings' Draft Needs, Possibilities Many

Even without trading their No. 7 overall pick, the Vikings have myriad options during Saturday's NFL Draft. They could select a receiver, running back or linebacker, or they could trade up or down.

The Vikings need a No. 1 receiver and would love to draft Michigan's Braylon Edwards, the 6-3, 210-pound playmaker with the 4.47 speed.

Of course, that won't happen unless the Vikings trade up from the seventh pick.

The Vikings also like former USC receiver Mike Williams, who also might be off the board by the time the Vikings make their first selection. If he's there, look for the Vikings to take him, filling a need while also grabbing the best player available.

If Williams is gone, it's unlikely the Vikings will reach for another receiver at No. 7. They love Troy Williamson's 4.31 speed, but they're hoping he will fall into the bottom half of the first round. The Vikings also have the 18th overall selection.

The Vikings will listen to offers to trade down from the seventh pick. But they aren't optimistic that they'll find a suitable buyer since this is considered a weak draft when it comes to top-10 blue-chippers.

Whether the Vikings get a crack at a blue-chip player depends on how the teams ahead of them rank the top two quarterbacks in the draft, Aaron Rodgers of California and Alex Smith of Utah. Both are juniors, which makes it harder to evaluate their draft value.

If Rodgers and Smith are chosen in the top seven selections, as expected, the Vikings are in good shape. If Rodgers and/or Smith are still on the board, the value of the Vikings' pick diminishes because quarterback is the one position the Vikings will not select this year.

As one of the more active teams this offseason, the Vikings already have addressed needs at cornerback, middle linebacker, strongside linebacker, defensive tackle and free safety. They also signed Baltimore free agent receiver Travis Taylor, but he is a No. 3 receiver at best.

The Vikings pride themselves on taking the best player available regardless of position or need. But it's unlikely they would select one of the top two cornerbacks, Antrel Rolle of Miami or Adam "Pac Man" Jones of West Virginia. But they did bring Jones in for a pre-draft visit, and he would give them the explosive return man that they've lacked for years.

Another intriguing situation could arise if one of the top three running backs is still on the board. Of Auburn's Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams and Texas' Cedric Benson, one might fall below the sixth pick. Benson is considered by many to be the one who might.

Don't be surprised if the Vikings take a running back with the seventh pick. Yes, they have depth there with Michael Bennett, Onterrio Smith, Mewelde Moore and Moe Williams. But there isn't a bona fide feature back among the four, and that's what the Vikings need to establish a dominant running game.

The Vikings also need a guard, an outside linebacker, a kicker and a defensive end, especially since the Packers matched the Vikings' one-year, $1.2 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Aaron Kampman.

Of those needs, only outside linebacker is a possibility with the seventh overall pick. Texas' Derrick Johnson should be available. He probably could start ahead of current No. 1 weakside linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, who was last year's second-round pick.

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